Soul Made: O.M.E.A. Handmade Badges. If a car is only a collection of smaller bits serving specific purposes, the badges it wears have the job of placing all those bits in context. When we look at a specific car we might remember its achievements in sport or design, but when we look at the symbol of the marque our minds are freed to wander further out. Timelines distend to their bookends, legacies come into focus, and we are sucked down into the deep wells of lore capped by the prancing horse of Ferrari, the cross and serpent of Alfa Romeo, Lamborghini’s raging bull.
O.M.E.A. understands this significance and has been devoted to the art of badge design and production since its operations began in the late 19th century. Active since 1887 but pared down to just a small dedicated group of artisans now, they have since relocated from their Milanese factory to a smaller building outside the city center. Such is the reality of preserving tradition.
The work performed under the O.M.E.A. name has remained unchanged despite shifts in the industry toward plastic and automation—these materials and processes reduce cost and ramp production numbers, but there’s art lost in taking this shortcut.
O.M.E.A. is a place where skilled hands are still more valuable than fast computers, where cloisonné reigns supreme over cheap polymer blends. Here enamels and metals continue to provide the same color and the luster as they did on the hood of a new 250 SWB. Little piles of powder are carefully arranged and then fired at extreme temperature to fill the spaces in the badge that will be finished by hand, creating another pretty remnant of a time when craftsmanship was more important than honing the supply chain.
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